Sound off if you have your own Web site (or one specifically for your book). Your publisher's site doesn't count. You must be master of this domain. Mine has two URLs: CrimeFictionBook.com and MinnesotaAuthor.com.

Twitter and Facebook don't count. Blogs, well, OK.

Following up question: How did you build it? Was it free online software? Did you pay someone to build it for you? I made mine using webs.com.

Let's hear them.

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Yeah, I used webs.com ... built my own ... got it up and running then a year or so ago paid vselldomains.com a few dollars for my own domain. I liked having the address www.bill-sheehy.com better than www.webs.com/bill-sheehy.com/ -- silly me, I doubt if it really made any difference.
I built my site in the first place to let friends and family back in the US get a picture of what my new life in Australia was like ... then when I had a few novels published, some photos purchased and kayaks built, other folk took a read. Now I'm using it to promote my ebooks ... while still bragging about all the rest.
Will it, or the ebooks for that matter, make me rich? famous? more lovable? Probably not. But I'm happy ..
Bought a prgram called Pablo 5 and built the web site myself. It's a What You See Is What You Get program. No fancy HTML language needed to know.

Built two web sites. The main one is at http://www.brstateham.com the second one, a dedicated site for the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales novels is at http://www.turnerhahnnovels.com
My website designer daughter made my author site: www.karendionne.net. I'm in the process of having my OTHER website designer daughter give the site a makeover, since the current one is pretty specific to my first novel (colors match the book's cover), and my second novel will publish in about 6 months, so I'll need something that works for both (and future novels, if I'm lucky!).

I use Dreamweaver to update the site myself to keep it current - it's just too painful having to wait for someone else to add a link to a review or a book event.

I've made a number of sites all on my own using joomla (Backspace: The Writer's Place; The Backspace Book Promotion Network; and the 2010 Backspace Writers Conference website), and if I didn't have designer daughters, would probably use joomla to make my own author site.
That's a good design, and authors designing their own site would do well to look at this one. It works for few reasons:

A) It's simple. Easy navigation, and best of all, clicking a tab keeps me on the same page. Very nice. I would like it more if the central text box was longer so I wouldn't have to scroll down.

B) Simple color arrangement. Very important. It uses colors from the book cover for the site colors, and even uses an element from the cover as a background in the upper left. Nice touch, and it gives the whole site a sense of cohesion.

You don't want your site to be too busy, so a minimum of fonts and colors is best. Make it easy and convenient to get information, that should be number one for any site design, and this site does it well. Dreamweaver is a good choice for maintaining it as well. It's not a difficult program to learn with some effort.

You get bonus points for not using Flash. Flash is incredibly annoying and should be avoided at all costs. 99% of the time if I go to a site and get a flash loader, I go to a different site.


As a tip to others, Wordpress is a good way to get a clean layout with minimal effort. It's a blogging platform, but it can be modified to suit your needs.
Right on about simplicity. I'd rather have a bland site that was simple to use than a vomit of graphic overload to decipher.
Thanks, John! I agree about the main box being a little small - I don't like scrolling either. That's one of the things I asked my daughter designing the new site to eliminate. Personally, I think a site with too much information looks unprofessional, and comes across as though the author is trying too hard to impress. Aside from the first chapter excerpt, my goal is to get every page's content on the new site to fit without scrolling.

I'm going with a very minimal look for the new design. Here's the look of it: http://www2.massgeneral.org/aids/sarah/kld/index.html#1 (don't check it out in Firefox - there's a pretty bad glitch with the slider feature - hey, it's still beta!)

I'm curious to know what you think of the slider, if you have a moment to look. Thanks!
I like the slider. It hesitates a split second before sliding though. Don't know if you can make it smoother. Also, Praise section lacks prev/next links. The browser I was using is Chrome.

Too much white for me, though. If you swapped out the text box on your current site with the slider box on your redesign, it would be perfect. Just replace the tabs on your current link and make them line up along the left of the slider box instead of on top as they do now.

Just my opinion, though.
Thanks for your thoughts, John. I love the idea of combining elements of the two sites. Appreciate your taking the time.
A new question: I have one site ... and so far that's all I feel I've needed. This site, as mentioned earlier, was set up primarily for family and friends.
However, I now have a number of western novels (10) that were published in the UK ... one crime novel with two more being considered by the same company and half a dozen ebooks, self published (Smashwords.com) so, my question is, should I construct another site for my fiction? and without anything like facebook or that ilk, how does one best advertise multiple sites?
Thanks, Benjamin, for letting me piggy-back on your question ...
Bill -

A website is the Internet equivalent of a business card. In real life, you hand a business card to someone you've met or who has otherwise expressed some interest in your work, or you mail one out to those you think might be interested in your product or service.

On the Internet, it's basically the same. A few people will find your website strictly by chance, but most people will visit because they've heard about you elsewhere, either by following a direct link, or by Googling. To accomplish that, you have to find your audience. Who will enjoy your books? Where are your potential readers on the Internet? How can you catch their interest? If you don't want to use Facebook to connect with people (and really, if this is where people are hanging out, why wouldn't you?), I suggest you check out some of the websites devoted to marketing on the Internet. Angela Wilson's "Market My Novel" is a great place to start.

As for having multiple websites, it's hard enough to get people's attention with one. Why divide your audience and multiply the work? My two cents -
I've had my web site for years. My webmaster designed it, but I provide text and images. (www.ijparker.com).

I like that slider bit but don't know if I could use that.

I also may think about having a second web site. This one is Japanese based and will accommodate everything that's published plus some new stuff, but I may want to branch out into European settings.

I do wish I could manage the thing myself and have a program for that, but so far I haven't had time to learn how to use it.
Great site Ms Parker ... and with more than 57 thousand visitors it is doing you well. Guess I'll have to get busy and create something. The problem, for me at least, is time ... time to keep updated on CrimeSpace, keep my present site updated, to keep the ebook development going and still write my usual 2,000 words a day. Can't give up the tennis but I guess I could cut back and only eat two meals a day.
Just kidding.

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